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Planning Service


The third Outer Hebrides Design Awards are now open for nominations.

The Awards will be presented in the categories of Housing, Business / Non-domestic and Conservation.

The Awards celebrate the most exceptional developments completed within the last two years, and those shortlisted will be invited to our Awards Ceremony.  Our winners will become part of the Comhairle’s promotion of good design.

Nominations can be submitted by anyone – from neighbours to architects, community groups or builders - and should be submitted by 25 March on the appropriate form available below.


Outer Hebrides Nomination Form (PDF, 720K)

Design Awards Information (PDF, 360K)

Nominations should be submitted to or to one of the main Comhairle offices marked for the attention of ‘Design Awards c/o Planning Service’.  All entries must have been completed within the 2 years prior to the closing date.

Please contact Helen MacDonald or Laura Graham with any queries – or 01851 822 690


Designing Houses for the Outer Hebrides

E-planning Scotland Logo

“the scale, sensitive siting and design of single houses in the countryside can help support
and revitalise rural communities without undermining the area’s distinctive qualities.”
Source:  Designing Places (2001) Scottish Government

The Comhairle have developed an Outer Hebrides Design Guide to take you through the process of planning and designing your house (or houses). 

Designing houses for the Outer Hebrides can be a challenge, with the climate and variable site conditions, and the Design Guide aims to set out key considerations to look at when planning and designing your house.


Design Guide: schematic of people thinking about the possibilities...

Outer Hebrides Design Guide

Outer Hebrides Design Guide (PDF, 1M) sits alongside Scottish Government Planning Advice
Note 72 Housing in the Countryside. It also relates to the Development Plan for the Outer Hebrides. The policies and design advice contained in these documents can be a ‘material consideration’ to help us determine planning applications.

The planning service of the Comhairle should be your first port of call.

A planning officer can speak with you about your ideas, called a pre-application discussion, and this advice service is provided free of charge.  We encourage you to engage with planners as early as possible as it will help you to gauge how well your ideas fit with policy.  This will allow you to incorporate the outcomes of your pre-application discussion in your final proposals.

To help a planning officer to consider your proposals during pre-application discussions, it would be helpful if you could provide:

  • a map of the site and any alternative sites/plots - showing the surrounding area and neighbouring buildings.
  • photographs of the site including some close to the site and some from public roads.
  • sketches or photographs of existing houses similar to the one that you have in mind.

If you are unable to visit Comhairle offices, please email and send in your ideas, plans or pictures for some advice.


Rural Design : Future landscapes

The Scottish Government has launched a document which outlines the importance of design and place-making in rural areas of Scotland. It brings together a range of rural design initiatives which have been carried out by the Scottish Government in conjunction with Orkney Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Rural Design: Future Landscapes (PDF)

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s ‘Kit House Redesign’ project


The Outer Hebrides Design Awards 2014

As part of an ongoing commitment to raising the design standards of housing in the Outer Hebrides, the second bi-annual Outer Hebrides Design Awards celebrated the high levels of achievement in quality design in the Outer Hebrides, and Awards were presented in the categories of Housing, Business/Non-domestic and Conservation.

2014 - Images of the Winners

Housing – Architect/Designer
  • Winner - Eagle Bay Cottages, Keose, Isle of Lewis
  • Commendation - Lewis Longhouse, 40c Coll, Isle of Lewis
Group Housing
  • Winner - Gibson Gardens, Stornoway
Business / Non-domestic
  • Winner - Gearrannan Blackhouse Village Hostel, Carloway, Isle of Lewis
  • Commendation - BASF Pharma (Callanish) Ltd, Breasclete, Isle of Lewis
  • Winner - Old Telford Church, Rushgarry, Berneray, Isle of North Uist
  • Commendation - Gearrannan Blackhouse Village Hostel, Carloway, Isle of Lewis


The Outer Hebrides Design Awards 2012

Awards were presented in the categories of Housing, Business/Non-domestic, Sustainability and Conservation

2012 - Images of the Winners

Housing – Self Design
  • Taigh Eilidh, 13A Port of Ness, Isle of Lewis
  • An Taigh Clach, 5 Upper Carloway, Isle of Lewis
  • 4 Callanish, Isle of Lewis
Housing – Architect/Designer
  • Fir Chlis, 12 Seilibost, Isle of Harris
Highly Commended
  • 15 Trealigarry, Berneray, Isle of North Uist
  • Ardmhor Lodge, Keose, Isle of Lewis
  • Beach Bay Cottage, 5A Carnish, Uig, Isle of Lewis
  • Rockside, Locheport, Isle of North Uist
  • 34A Eoligarry, Isle of Barra
Business / Non-domestic
  • Borve Lodge Self-Catering, Borve Estate, Isle of Harris
  • Stornoway Police Station, 18 Church Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
  • Western Isles Dental Centre, Macaulay Road, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
  • Creative Industries and Media Centre, 56 Seaforth Road, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
  • Driftwater Weaves, 21 Tobson, Bernera, Isle of Lewis
  • Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, Tom na Ba, Galson, Isle of Lewis
  • Uiseag, 22 Portvoller, Point, Isle of Lewis
  • Moorpark Cottages, 7 Park Barvas, Isle of Lewis
  • 15 Trealigarry, Berneray, Isle of North Uist
  • 4 & 4A Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Isle of Lewis
  • 4 Callanish, Isle of Lewis


Inverness Architectural Association (IAA) Awards

For more information visit the Inverness Architectural Association